Zichron Yakov – Remember Jacob

Torah Interpretation by Yakov Gefen

During a visit to Kupiskis, the leader of Panevezys Jewish Community Genadij Gofmann, met with the then Mayor of Kupiskis, Jonas Jarutis.  At that time, Mayor Jarutis gave Genadij a prayer book which had been found under the wooden floor of his home.  The book was given to Howard Margol z"l who gave it to Ann Rabinowitz. Ann donated the book to YIVO in New York City.  (YIVO call number 000132972)


                                                                                                                                                                                      The house where the book was found

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               (Thanks to Phil Shapiro for photograph of the house)

Thereupon, Ann determined the origins of this book which was a virtual Holocaust survivor.  Through the assistance of Avraham Malthete, Epigraphist-Paleograph, Library of the “Alliance Israelite Universelle”, Paris , France , and Orit Lavi, Israel , the frontispiece of the book was translated as Zichron Yakov or Remember Jacob, which was a torah interpretation by Yakov Gefen, published by F. Garbera, Zavalaya Street , Building 25,Vilna , Lithuania, 1913, 64 pages.

As translated by Avraham Malthete, the sources he found stated the following:

The book can be found in Ch. B. Friedberg’s “Bet Eked Sefarim, Volume I, page 327, number 323, and can be found in “The Bibliography of Hebrew Books” as Zikhron Ya’aqov, by ha-Rav Ya’aqov, son of his father and master Shaul Gefen, son-in-law of the Gaon Rabbi Hayim-Moshe Weitz of Kupishok (Kupiskis).  Hiddushim al Massekhet Qiddushin ve-al Seder Neziqin, ve-hadaran al Massekhet Baba Batra ve-hadaran al Massekhet Baba Metzia (these are the Novelae on the Talmud Babli).  Edited and printed by Shraga-Feibel Garber with a Haskamah by Yehudah-Leib Shalom Zinaber (Zinabel).

A complete copy of the book can be seen at the following site:


The Gefen and Weitz families were well-known in Kupiskis and this book represents the scholarship which existed in Kupiskis and now has survived for us to see.  Further information regarding the location of the house where the book was found and who owned it prior to the Holocaust will be obtained.  Also, there is the possibility that the book was hidden during the time in 1915 when the Jews were forced to leave due to the advent of World War I. (Not likely since the building says '1933' on it.)


 NB:  Jonas Jarutis left the mayor's position to become a member of the Seimas, the Lithuanian parliament.  He is currently the deputy speaker. (2021)                                     

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